BJ The Chicago Kid: "I would hear Commission, The Winans, The Clark Sisters [growing up]. My pops would be playing Marvin Gaye, The Whispers, The Chi-Lites, Luther Vandross, and Babyface. Bobby Brown. Usher. Dave Hollister. D’Angelo.
"Who else? Uncle Sam, this old R&B artist from back in the day that was dope. He wrote a song about his girl cheating on him with his best friend. He’s from Detroit. His voice was one of those classic singing voices. If he had gotten the proper acknowledgement, he would definitely be a known voice. Like his voice alone—Samuel L. Jackson has a famous voice, Uncle Sam had a famous voice. Whatever happened, happened. Uncle Sam was a beast.
"Boyz II Men, Jodeci, it was a bunch of ‘em. A bunch of artists that pretty much poured into me. I’m talking about after the soul era. Jagged Edge, man I’m a huge Jagged Edge fan. As crazy as it sounds, I love them ghetto loving records. I’m an R&B singer so I can’t front like I don’t like it, but today, my influence is more hip-hop than R&B.
"There aren’t a lot of new R&B guys that I really take liking to. I rocks with Frank Ocean’s music. I rocks with Chris Brown’s music. Luke James, Wolf James is what he calls himself now. It’s a few dope artists, but not a lot that’s being consistent.
"I’m not out here just singing because BJ the Chicago Kid can sing. I’m really trying to bring real music back. I have a jersey on with ‘Soul Music’ on the back. That’s the team I play for. I take pride in that. There’s so many people that hide behind that because other people have put labels with the soul title, and made it neo-soul. Now they think you got to wear a yarn hat and shit. Like, nah, it ain't about that. It’s about the warmth of the music. You being who you are. This is how I dress. This is my third time changing clothes today, but I’m very much who I am.
"That’s what creates the art. That’s what fucks people up when they hear Kanye’s song and then they see the video, he got all this gothic shit and all these lights, and this king look. It’s like, yeah, it’s the art. That’s what makes it art.
"If I looked exactly how I sound, that’s not really art. It has to be a contrast. It has to be an actual different visual with what you hear. It really has to make sense without making sense to you from the get. That’s what brings the art to it. I feel like i’m walking art, I’m living art. From what I sing, from what I wear, to what I listen to.
"I listen to a lot of Marvin, Willie Hutch, Al Green, Isley Brothers and all that, but if Young Chop samples one of them guys, and I get called to do that hook, I’ve lived two lives for that one hook. I listened to this OG shit, but I’m a young dude, I live the young man life. So I live my life through that chopped up version, too. More than just ‘Ugh, I’m trying to figure out this part.’ No I can really see myself murdering this song because I really feel two different loves from it, in the same record."